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Air Pollution

Disputes also arise between neighbours over smoke from chimneys or incinerators, burning off in backyards, hot air from air conditioner exhausts, smells caused by animals and birds, chemical smells from factories and so on. Again it is best to try to solve such a dispute in a friendly manner, but if this does not help, a complaint can be made to the local council.

Under the Local Nuisance and Litter Control Act 2016 (SA) odours, dust, smoke or fumes may qualify as a local nuisance depending on the nature, intensity or extent (see below When do offensive odours, dust or smoke constitute a local nuisance?).

Domestic incinerators

Domestic incinerators are controlled under the Environment Protection (Burning) Policy 1994 that prohibits:

  • burning of chemically treated wood
  • open fires in streets, roads or laneways
  • the use of domestic incinerators in most council areas.

People should check with their local councils if incinerators are permitted. If so, they can only be used Monday to Saturday between the hours of 10 am and 3 pm and only to burn dry paper, dry wood or dried prunings. It is also an offence to burn plastics, permapine and other chemical emitting refuse.

Burning off

Burning off to reduce bush fire hazards is permitted so long as either the Fire and Emergency Services Act 2005 (SA) allows or the Environmental Protection Authority or local council has given written consent.

Smoke from solid fuel (combustion) heaters

Section 12 of the Environment Protection (Air Quality) Policy 2016 provides guidance on what amounts to excessive smoke from slow combustion (solid fuel) heaters and other fires.

Smoke from a solid fuel heater will constitute a local nuisance in the following circumstances:

  • if a visible plume of smoke extends into the air above neighbouring premises from the flue or chimney of the heater more than 15 minutes after the heater is lit; and
  • an authorised officer forms the opinion that the nature, extent, colour, smell or density of the smoke creates an unreasonable interference with the enjoyment of the neighbouring premises by the occupiers of those premises.

When do offensive odours, smoke or dust contitute a local nuisance?

The following conditions constitute a local nuisance under Schedule 1 of the Local Nuisance and Litter Control Act 2016 (SA):

  • odour generated on permises – if an authorised officer decides that the odour has travelled to neighbouring premises and the nature, intensity or extent of the odour creates an unreasonable interference with the enjoyment of the neighbouring premises by the occupiers of those premises;
  • dust generated on premises – if any authorised officer decides that the dust has travelled to neighbouring premises and the nature, extent, smell or density of the dust creates an unreasonable interference with the enjoyment of the neighbouring premises by the occupiers of those premises;
  • smoke generated on premises (other than from solid fuel heaters) – if an authorised officer decides that the smoke has travelled to neighbouring premises and the nature, extent, colour, smell or density of the smoke creates an unreasonable interference with the enjoyment of the neighbouring premises by the occupiers of those premises.

For smoke produced by solid fuel heaters see above.

Air Pollution  :  Last Revised: Thu Jun 29th 2017
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